PeaceTech News Roundup


United States Institute of Peace


PeaceTech Roundup
Weekly News Highlights, September 4 - September 10, 2014


Technology and Science

Media and Social Media

S. Sudan president signs media bills, calls for peace
South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, signed the country’s media bills into law on Tuesday, urging journalists to play active roles in promoting peace and unity. This comes months after the country’s lawmakers unanimously endorsed the recommendations made by the president on the Right to Access to Information, Media Authority and the Broadcasting Corporation bills.
See the full article (Sudan Tribune, 9/9/14)
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An Independent Syrian Media Comes of Age at a Time of War
The independent Syrian media came of age a year ago, after Assad regime’s chemical weapons’ attack on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta in August 2013. “Until then, Syrians had hoped that if they posted videos on the internet, the world would come and sort it out,” says Robin Yassin-Kassab, the half-Syrian British author of The Road from Damascus, who still regularly travels to Syria.
See the full article (Newsweek, Charlotte Eager, 9/9/14)
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S.Sudan radio journalist held without charge: rights group
Security forces in South Sudan have detained a journalist for two weeks from a UN-backed radio, one of the war-torn country's most popular stations, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Tuesday. The arrest without charge of George Livio, who works for Radio Miraya, is the latest in a series of reported crackdowns on journalists.
See the full article (Yahoo, 9/9/14)
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This may be the most inappropriate political hashtag of the year
It was the social media campaign of the year. #BringBackOurGirls awoke the world to the ravages of Boko Haram, an al-Qaeda-linked terror group in Nigeria. The #BringBackOurGirls hashtag channeled both sympathy from abroad and local outrage and concern in Nigeria, with many angry at the government of President Goodluck Jonathan for being unable to free the captured women. Banners emerged in the capital Abuja over the weekend showing Jonathan alongside a new slogan: #BringBackGoodluck2015.
See the full article (Washington Post, Ishaan Tharoor, 9/8/14)
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The Burn ISIS Flag Challenge: Outraged Muslims flood web with their version of the Ice Bucket Challenge in protest against Islamic State barbarism
Furious Muslims are flooding the internet with their own version of the Ice Bucket Challenge in protest against the Islamic State - by burning the terror group's flag. Dozens of pictures and videos are trending on Twitter and YouTube showing campaigners from America to Lebanon setting fire to the black jihadist standard.
See the full article (Daily Mail, Simon Tomlinson, 9/8/14)
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State Department Steps Up Trolling Against ISIL With Violent Mock Video
The U.S. State Department has stepped up the intensity of its game against ISIL on the social media battlefield, with a round of new videos it hopes will curb the enthusiasm potential recruits have for the extremist group. In a series of mock recruitment videos posted to YouTube, the State Department has remixed ISIL videos and photographs depicting crucifixions, people being whipped, shot in the head and thrown off cliffs that the extremist group regularly publishes through their own social media channels with the intention of recruiting fighters and supporters.
See the full article (The Wire, Allen McDuffee, 9/6/14)
Click to read "Iraq: Islamic Militants, Breakup and Other Tough Questions on Twitter" an Olive Branch post by Steven Ruder.
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Featured Story from the USIP Foreign Policy Peace Channel

How to Prevent Total Disaster in South Sudan by Rajiv Shah, Valerie Amos, Kristalina Georgieva, and Borge Brende
After half a year of fighting, the world's newest country is barreling toward calamity. But its leaders can pull it back from the brink -- if they choose to do so. A true cease-fire that leads to peace, reconciliation, and accountability is the clear path to a safer and better future for the people of South Sudan, and it is high time for the government and opposition to show leadership, make compromises, and establish a Transitional Government of National Unity as they have agreed to do. These leaders have an obligation to protect their people and to bring the country back from disaster and the brink of famine.
See the full article

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Technology and Science

OSCE to Deploy Drones to Monitor Ukraine Cease-Fire
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe will deploy drones soon as part of efforts to beef up monitoring the cease-fire in Ukraine, its chairman said on Wednesday. OSCE chairman and Swiss President Didier Burkhalter called the cease-fire a "real opportunity" and said it should be given time to produce a political dialogue before more sanctions are imposed on Russia over its involvement in the crisis. OSCE spokesman Shiv Sharma said the group would initially deploy two drones at the end of September to the beginning of October, and that more would follow later.
See the full article (Moscow Times, 9/10/14)
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Technology for World Peace, Not World Destruction
Fire is technology. We can use it to warm our food and our home or it can burn down our neighborhood. It's all a matter of how we choose to use technological resources, or abuse them. If you are reading this now then you are engaging with some of the most complex technology in the history of the planet, the internet. That is why it is so exciting to see a digital technology recently launched with the purpose of connecting people around the world for the sake of creating peace. It is the Global Peace Map powered by Unify in collaboration with many organizations and individuals around the planet.
See the full article (Huffington Post, Jacob Devany, 9/9/14)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "PeaceTech Summit: Engineering Durable Peace" on September 19, 2014 from 9:30am to 4:00pm.
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Think You Can End Colombia's 50-year War? Reach for Your Mouse
Colombians will soon be able to sit around a virtual negotiating table as Marxist FARC rebels or the government to thrash out an end to 50 years of war in a video game mirroring complex real life talks to restore peace to the country. "Adios a las Armas," or "Farewell to Arms," a finalist in a government competition in July for non-violent video games, aims to raise awareness about a peace deal being negotiated in Cuba which voters will back or reject in a referendum.
See the full article (Voice of America, 9/9/14)
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Israel provides intelligence on Islamic State - Western diplomat
Israel has provided satellite imagery and other intelligence in support of the U.S.-led aerial campaign against Islamic State in Iraq, a Western diplomat said on Monday. Once "scrubbed" of evidence of its Israeli origin, the information has often been shared by Washington with Arab and Turkish allies, the diplomat said.
See the full article (Reuters, Dan Williams, 9/8/14)
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